A new study claims that far from keeping the doctor away, an aspirin a day can negatively impact already-healthy adults.
The study claims that the risk of internal bleeding outweighs any benefits that healthy individuals might experience from daily doses of aspirin, NBC reported.
As reported by CNN, researchers said they found that “the risk of major hemorrhage was significantly higher with aspirin than with a placebo. Major hemorrhage events primarily involved upper gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding.”
“We knew there would an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin, because there has always been,” said study coauthor Dr. Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
“But not only did it not decrease risk of disability or death, it did not decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and there was an increase in the rate of death,” she said.
The study, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, was the second in recent weeks to come down against daily doses of aspirin.
In August, new research showed that aspirin did not appear to be effective in warding off a heart attack or stroke among individuals who were healthy.
‘‘There’s been a lot of uncertainty among doctors around the world about prescribing aspirin’’ beyond those for whom it’s now recommended, said study leader, Dr. Jane Armitage of Britain’s University of Oxford.
‘‘If you’re healthy, it’s probably not worth taking it,” she said, according to The Boston Globe.
Another study noted that aspirin does not appear effective at all against cancer.
Researchers reported “higher all-cause mortality … among apparently healthy older adults who received daily aspirin than among those who received [a] placebo and was attributed primarily to cancer-related death.”
The degree of risk faced by an individual can be an important factor in deciding whether to take aspirin as a preventive measure, according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
“The USPSTF recommends initiating low-dose aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer (CRC) in adults aged 50 to 59 years who have a 10% or greater 10-year CVD risk, are not at increased risk for bleeding, have a life expectancy of at least 10 years, and are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years,” it wrote on its website.
Murray said the issue is that there has been a lack of clear guidelines on taking aspirin.
“A lot of people read, ‘Well, aspirin is good for people who have heart problems. Maybe I should take it, even if they haven’t really had a heart attack,'” she said.
“For a long time there’s been a need to establish appropriate criteria for when healthy people — elderly people — need aspirin,” she said, according to NPR.
Dr. Kent Meredith of Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah, said the study does not apply to patients with heart disease, reported KUCW.
“Please don’t just decide to stop your aspirin, for some of them, that decision could be life threatening. Remember this study was looking at healthy patients in their 70s and 80s and this really does not apply with those with heart disease, those who have had heart attacks, a bypass surgery or a stent in their heart or who have had a stroke. Those patients have clearly benefited from taking aspirin,” he said.
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